Choose a topic from Part 2B:

26. The Order of Charity

1. There is an order in charity, and God is the principle of that order. God is to be loved out of charity, before all others. The other beings that are to be loved out of charity are, so to speak, lined up in their proper places, subordinate to God.

2. God is to be loved for himself and as the cause ofhappiness. Hence, God is to be loved more than our neighbor, who isloved, not for himself, but for God.

3. And we are to love God more than we love ourselves. What we love in ourselves is from God, and is lovable only on account of God.

4. A person rightly loves himself by charity when he seeks to be united with God and to partake of God's eternal happiness. And a person loves his neighbor as one to whom he wishes this union and happiness. Now, since seeking to obtain something for oneself is a more intense act than wishing well to one's neighbor, a person manifestly loves himself more than he loves his neighbor. As evidence of this fact, consider this: a man would rightly refuse to sin if, by sinning, he could free his neighbor from sin.

5. While we love ourselves more than we love our neighbor, we are required to love our neighbor more than we love our body.

6. And we rightly love one neighbor more than another - our parents, for instance, or our children. In this we violate no law so long as we do not withhold requisite love from any neighbor.

7. Our dearest objects of charity among neighbors are those who are closest to us by some tie - relationship, common country, and so on.

8. The tie that is strongest of all is the tie of blood. Hence it is natural that we should love our kindred more than others.

9. And in those related to us by blood there is an order. St. Ambrose says that we ought to love God first, then our parents, then our children, then the others of our household.

10. We are to love father and mother. Strictly speaking, the love of father precedes the love of mother.

11. A man loves his wife more intensely than he loves his parents. Yet he loves his parents with greater reverence.

12. It seems that we love those on whom we confer benefits more than those who confer benefits on us.

13. The order of charity, since it is right and reasonable, will endure in heaven.

"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"Though the path is plain and smooth for people of good will, those who walk it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty if they do not have good feet, courage, and tenacity of spirit. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

* * *

"The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse. In prosperity, even sinners find it easy to unite themselves to the divine will; but it takes saints to unite themselves to God's will when things go wrong and are painful to self-love. Our conduct in such instances is the measure of our love of God."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

* * *